Find two cases from scholarly sources, one that fits with de…

Find two cases from scholarly sources, one that fits with developmental theory and one that fits with critical criminology; in 500-750 words, explain the following: Use three to five scholarly resources to support your explanations.


The fields of developmental theory and critical criminology offer distinct perspectives for understanding the causes and consequences of crime and delinquency. Developmental theory emphasizes the importance of individual and environmental factors in shaping criminal behavior over the lifespan. On the other hand, critical criminology examines the structural and social processes that contribute to crime and seeks to challenge and transform the existing assumptions and power dynamics within the criminal justice system. In this paper, two cases will be presented: one that aligns with developmental theory and another that aligns with critical criminology. The selected cases will be analyzed to illustrate the key concepts and implications of these theoretical perspectives.

Developmental Theory Case: The Life-course Perspective

The life-course perspective is a prominent developmental theory that posits that criminal behavior is influenced by a variety of factors that occur at different stages over the course of an individual’s life. This perspective asserts that trajectories of offending are shaped by the interplay between biological, psychological, and social factors. A case that exemplifies the life-course perspective is the study conducted by Moffitt (1993), in which she distinguished between two distinct offender groups: life-course persistent offenders and adolescence-limited offenders.

Moffitt’s study followed a cohort of individuals from childhood to adulthood and identified two major trajectories of delinquency. Life-course persistent offenders exhibited a pattern of antisocial behavior that started early in childhood and persisted into adulthood. These individuals displayed a range of risk factors, including neurological deficits, difficult temperament, and adverse family and socioeconomic circumstances. In contrast, adolescence-limited offenders engaged in delinquent behavior only during their teenage years, and their criminal activities diminished once they entered adulthood.

According to the life-course perspective, the criminogenic factors experienced by life-course persistent offenders, such as early neurological deficits and adverse environments, shape their criminal trajectories by increasing the risk for persistent antisocial behavior. In contrast, adolescence-limited offenders engage in delinquency due to temporary situational factors associated with adolescence, such as peer pressure and experimentation. Therefore, Moffitt’s study provides empirical evidence that supports the key propositions of developmental theory, highlighting the role of developmental processes in shaping criminal behavior.

Critical Criminology Case: The War on Drugs and Racial Inequality

Critical criminology focuses on the social, economic, and political structures that contribute to crime and the unequal distribution of power and resources within society. This perspective challenges the dominant narratives of crime and justice and seeks to unveil the underlying social injustices perpetuated by the criminal justice system. A case that illustrates the key tenets of critical criminology is the analysis of the War on Drugs and its impact on racial inequality, as explored by Alexander (2010).

Alexander argues that the War on Drugs, which began in the 1970s, has disproportionately targeted communities of color, particularly African Americans. She asserts that the criminalization of drug offenses has resulted in mass incarceration, with a significant number of individuals being detained for nonviolent drug offenses. African Americans have been disproportionately affected by these policies, despite similar drug use rates across different racial groups.

The critical criminological perspective posits that the War on Drugs serves as a mechanism for social control, particularly for marginalized communities. It perpetuates racial disparities by selectively enforcing drug laws that disproportionately impact communities of color, leading to a cycle of poverty, imprisonment, and social exclusion. Alexander’s analysis challenges the prevailing assumption that drug-related offenses are inherently linked to individual moral failings and highlights the systemic racism embedded within the criminal justice system.


In summary, developmental theory and critical criminology provide distinct lenses for understanding crime and delinquency. The life-course perspective emphasizes the influence of individual and environmental factors on criminal trajectories, as exemplified by Moffitt’s study. On the other hand, critical criminology analyzes the structural and societal factors that contribute to inequality and crime, as illustrated by Alexander’s analysis of the War on Drugs. These theoretical perspectives offer valuable insights into the complexities of criminal behavior and the need for comprehensive approaches to crime prevention and social justice. The selected cases and the supporting scholarly resources demonstrate the relevance and applicability of these theoretical frameworks in the field of criminology.